Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Do websites need a social media landing page?

Social media is all the rage. Everyone and their dog is on Twitter, even if over 50% of profiles are ghost towns. The older generation is growing on Facebook more rapidly than the teens and content sharing has become a la mode. If you're not bookmarking (AddThis, Stumbleupon, Digg etc) then you're so last year.

However, it is dangerous to assume that just because your website now has a social media angle, your customers will flock to it and engage like never before. Wrong. Why would they? Just because they use Facebook doesn't mean they automatically want to join your fan page. The world is crammed with stuff to do, networks to join, content to read, links to follow. If you want yours to get to the surface, you need to give your customers a compelling reason to join in.

With this in mind, I started thinking about how landing page optimisation could benefit social media activity. I don't mean the main page of your community section or your Twitter account background, I mean a page on your main website that communicates your social media presence and explains how customers can interact.

The logic is clear - social media is marketing, so to drive conversion (Twitter follow, Facebook fan page sign-up, YouTube views etc) you need to target customers with a relevant landing page. That landing page then needs to be optimised over time to drive click through and conversion. If you want the benefits of social media then be serious about marketing it to your customers.

What content do I think sits on this page?
  • Explanation of what you are doing and why - convey your passion
  • List of benefits to customers e.g. If you have a customer service query, use our Twitter account to get a faster reply
  • Bio of each social media profile you manage - what, where, why, how, who etc
  • Links to each profile
  • Integrated into your analytics package - track links and page performance to enable benchmarking & optimisation
  • Main navigation back into core pages of your main website - keep consistency

Take away thoughts:
  • Get your customers excited about following you via social media
  • Clearly communicate the benefits
  • Ask for feedback
  • Encourage people to get involved and share their thoughts/ideas/content
  • Enable people to bookmark your pages and share your content easily
  • Look at the stats - how does the page perform?
  • Test different ways to improve the page and keep asking your customers' advice
What do you think? Is landing page optimisation missing from social media presence? Do you know a company doing this well?

Please share your comments. Thanks.

Friday, 11 September 2009

BT using Twitter as a customer service support tool

Twitter is becoming increasingly popular amongst retailers as a customer service tool. The likes of ASOS and Debenhams have embraced this angle, the former having a dedicated ASOS account for customer enquiries. This adds another feather in the bow of the micro-blogging service when it comes down to challenging the criticism that Twitter offers no viable commercial value.

This week I was nodded in the direction of @BTCare by @GeoffreyB, Marketing Director at BT Retail Solutions and someone whom I follow on Twitter. So, I took a look round....

First impressions are good - @BTCare has a branded backround and has added some key profile info such as web address and location. The bio could do with some work though, very friendly but says nothing about who/what BTCare is and who is behind it. Nice links on the left to other BT Twitter accounts, good to see joined up thinking.

What about the level of engagement and content?

This impressed me. There are a lot of replies to individual users, with a positive and helpful tone. There seems to be a genuine desire to help, it certainly does not come across as a “me too” attempt to leverage Twitter’s popularity. The #followers is testament to this – currently at 1,978. Yes I know that BT is a huge brand with a customer database of millions but I think the follower base is a reasonable size.

Without approaching BT with a genuine customer query/complaint, it still looks like BTCare is doing a good job as a customer service channel. I love replies like “@edwardlamb I do not think we can gain the information you require, however if you DM us your account details we can have a look for you!”. The tone conveys knowledge but also offers to investigate the enquiry further. This communicates authority, reliability and genuine care. I really like this.

And what of the commercial benefit to BT?

Using Twitter as a customer service channel can help answer queries in real time. This will encourage customers to use Twitter, reducing the demand on other inbound channels such as email and the call centre. We all complain when faced with a complicated IVR: we don’t want to wait, we don’t want to press 1 then 2 then 1 etc, we want a real person immediately. If this is what we want, then we should start to embrace Twitter as a communication channel and be grateful that retailers are putting the resource into providing this service. It is not a right, it is a bonus.

There are other benefits too such as raising brand awareness and managing negative comments.

What do you think of BTCare’s uses of Twitter? Do you have examples of other retailers using Twitter as a customer service tool? Please share and leave comments.